Washington Dam Has 65-Foot Crack

PHOTO: A crack discovered in Wanapum Dam leads to emergency procedures.

Engineers have started emergency procedures to stabilize a Washington dam after they found a 65-foot crack in the structure.

The Wanapum Dam, a hydroelectric project located on the Columbia River in Grant County, Wash., is still running after divers discovered a 65-foot crack that is 2-inches wide.

The problem was first identified after an engineer noticed a “bowing” in the roadway above the dam and later discovered that a concrete spillway was raised above the water by 2.5 inches, according to Grant County Public Utility District spokesman Thomas Stredwick.

“Since we’ve noticed the issue, there’s no additional movement for that spillway section,” said Stredwick.

Stredwick said there are more than a dozen concrete spillway sections, but only one has been affected by the crack.

The dam has not been evacuated and is still producing electricity for the central Washington region. Due to the severity of the problem, a crisis scenario plan has been implemented, meaning that the damage is significant enough that there is potential the dam could fail.

Some emergency procedures have been initiated, including collaborating with other agencies and notifying residents who own land below the dam of the issue. No evacuations have been ordered.

Engineers have also started to lower the water elevation and they expect the level of the river water to be 20 feet lower than normal by Monday.

To help repair the plant, engineers are performing stability studies to identify the extent of the damage. The crack could also cause problems at other hydroelectric dams along the river as the water is lowered or raised.

The failure of the dam would primarily affect the town of Vantage, which is six miles upstream.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Sabrina Allen is shown in this photo provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
PHOTO: Adam Sandler arrives at the premiere of Men, Women & Children at The Directors Guild of America, Sept. 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP Photo
Lovable Panda Triplets Get Named
ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images
PHOTO: Video recorded Sept. 21, 2014 in Okanogan County, Wash. shows a black bear scratching its back against a tree.
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife